Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Permission to rock: No one can stop you now!

Until relatively recently, if you wanted to achieve something on a grand scale, you would often need the permission of someone with influence.

You used to hear people saying that they had a great idea for a radio show, a book or a business, but that no one would give them a break.

Today, everything has changed.  You no longer need someone to give you a break or permission.  You can get out there, start doing amazing work and make your own breaks.

They can’t stop you any more!

  • You can publish your own books, you don’t need permission from a publisher.
  • You can start your own Internet radio show.  You don’t need permission from a radio station.
  • You can reach thousands of people every day with magazine style articles via a blog.  You don’t need permission from the editor of a magazine.
  • You can record, market and distribute your own training products. You don’t need permission from a training publisher.  I do this with my extremely popular Motivation Master Class.
  • The list goes on and on!

Now that so many barriers have been removed, there are 2 questions we can focus on:

  1. What am I going to do with this amazing opportunity?
  2. Who or what am I going to blame now, for my decision to sit on my hands and do nothing?

We can either invest our creativity in answering the first of those questions, or waste our creativity by answering the second.  The choice is ours.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

The titles people give themselves

I was thinking earlier, how anyone can refer to themselves as a marketing expert.  If they are really bold, they may call themselves a marketing guru, marketing wizard or even a “thought leader.”  The same is true for every industry.

Of course, the grand titles people assign to themselves are not what counts.  It’s the marketplace, which decides if we are any good.

  • If we consistently help people create quantum improvements, people will notice.
  • If we write a newsletter or a blog, which showcases our ability in a very positive light, people will notice.
  • If we try to help as many people as we can, by giving as much unique value as we can, people will notice.

Obviously, the reverse is also true.

  • If our work is generic, people will notice.
  • If we write a newsletter or blog, which showcases our lack of ability, people will notice.
  • If we have nothing of original value to offer our marketplace, people will notice.

We all have the freedom to give ourselves any title we wish, which is why I find titles so interesting.  Ultimately, the titles people give themselves ALWAYS tell us much more about the person, than the literal meaning of the title.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: styro

Make some REAL progress with this 1 simple idea

If you want to enjoy massively better results from your business, you need to step back and look at the way things are right now.  A great place to start, is to ask yourself the following question on a regular basis:

Am I making measurable progress in reasonable time?

I know business owners who are earning roughly the same today as they were 2 years ago.  That’s not how you grow a successful business.  That’s called stagnation.  It’s stressful, unrewarding and 100% unnecessary.

Day by day, it’s easy to miss the fact that you are making little measurable progress.  Small business owners who are working hard but getting little reward, don’t do so deliberately.  They are simply unaware that they are repeating small errors, which are stopping their business from growing.  They are like the guy trying to cut down a tree with a hammer.  Lots of effort for very little progress.

The bottom line: If you are not making the progress you want, either figure out what’s blocking you or talk to someone who knows.  Make the changes required and start getting the results your hard work deserves!  Don’t make the mistake of hoping things will just get better.  Hope is not a business strategy.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Proof: Why your marketing needs to prove itself!

Proof matters. It matters because the gap created by a lack of proof, is usually filled with doubt.  In business, you really don’t need people doubting you or your message.

Proof in marketingWhy proof matters in marketing

People typically want to believe you, but they like to have proof as a way to justify their belief.  These days it’s usually pretty easy to provide that proof, particularly online.  If you get a mention in a national or regional newspaper, there’s usually a link you can provide, to show your coverage.

For example, I provide a lot of proof on the about page on this blog. I include 5 different links to mentions of me that appear in The New York Times.  There’s also a link to the website of my friend and former client; Grammy Award winning producer, Bruce Elliott-Smith, as well as my current AdAge Power150 listing etc.  I use the links to help provide proof to new readers and prospective clients, that my narrative is genuine.

The problem with proof

Today, if you get mentioned in just about any regional or national newspaper / magazine, you can provide readers with a link to it on that publication’s website.  However, most of the mentions of you from 8 or more years ago in the press, are probably gone without trace. You may have a hard copy of the article that says how great you are, but nothing you can link to, which shows it on the newspaper’s own website.  Equally, appearances you made on TV or great radio guest spots from back then, are also hard to prove.

The challenge here is that in the age of click-able proof, many people expect proof to be available on the website of the newspaper, magazine, radio station or TV station etc.  Not simply on your site.

In my own case, I have appeared on dozens of BBC radio shows, with nothing I can link to as proof.  I list the BBC in an image on my about page and hope that my transparency and click-able proof are enough to build the trust required.  You know what?  For many who don’t know me, it won’t be.  They need that click.  To be honest, I understand them too!  I see mentions some bloggers make regarding coverage they have received, and find it hard to believe, based on the quality of their content.  Others I believe instantly and feel no need to click anything, because their content / work is clearly extremely good.

Maybe there’s a lesson there too: That people are less willing to believe someone who claims high level media coverage, when the quality of their content seems pretty average?

In my experience, if you can link to your mentions in the media, you should.  It removes doubt and encourages trust.  If you have enough credible mentions, which are easy to prove, you may find people are more likely to believe those achievements, which can’t be proven instantly with the click of a mouse.  Here are some tips on how to get more high quality media coverage, if that’s a challenge for you right now.

What are you thoughts?

I would love to hear your opinions on proof and how important you believe these issues are.  What are your experiences?  Please share your thoughts.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: katmere

The slow demise of the clueless social media rock star?

I’ve written previously about the way some social media gurus are totally clueless when it comes to anything, other than building impressive looking social media followings.

Well, even though influential people like Steve Rubel and Shel Israel are talking about the end of the road for social media consultants / gurus, some things never change.  I’m talking about the massive number of clueless social media gurus.

Clueless

I spoke yesterday with a web developer, who told me about an email he received from a well-known social media figure.  This person was trying to bag themselves a free website from him and unknowingly, sent the same begging email to a number of developers, who knew each other.  The email was forwarded on to me and I assume lots of others.  It is one of the  most cringe inducing emails I have ever seen.

It was also strangely familiar.

You see, one of that person’s closest social media associates called my office a few months ago, also looking for a freebie.  They promised to retweet all my posts and recommend me to their huge online network, if I would “just” give them a free marketing consultation. That’s the exact same offer their friend made in their begging emails to the web developers!

I politely said “no.”

NB: I find it’s common for people whose own time is of little financial value, to assume others give their time away too.

Anyhow, during our call, the guru explained that although they are regularly featured on all kinds of lists and in some top blogs, they earn almost nothing and spend most of their time speaking at conferences, for which they are usually paid little more than expenses, often nothing at all.  Commercially, this guru admitted knowing “very little when it comes to strategy!” Their only ability is to know how to build what seems to be a large following, which generates low pay – No pay speaking gigs.

The problem with clueless social media gurus, as opposed to genuine social media experts

The reason this matters, is that those 2 clueless social media gurus have a combined following of over 150,000, who they offer business development advice to; something they have demonstrated very little knowledge of!  No wonder we are now seeing social media rock stars moving into salaried jobs.

Before you decide who to listen to when it comes to the development of your business, check them out.  That means more than counting how many followers they have.  Some of the smartest people in business and social media have modest sized social networks, but extremely successful businesses!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

It matters!

So many important things in business get overlooked, because we think they probably don’t matter.

In business, every action you take is either working for you or working against you.  Nothing is neutral.  Everything matters.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: twodolla

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees: Part 3

If you want to attract the best clients and the highest fees, you need to understand the commercial value of originality.

Photo: John Trainor

The original Mona Lisa was insured in 1962 for a hundred million dollars and today that valuation would be closer to a billion dollars.  However, you can buy a copy of the Mona Lisa for the price of a coffee!  This is because the marketplace values originality and attaches no value to copycats.

The easy route

The easy route is what the masses decide to take.  This is what Seth Godin refers to as; “offering an average service to average people.”  They attract average clients and have to charge average fees.  This approach is soul destroying and those who take it look to the future with apprehension.  However, it requires little thought, which is why it’s so common.

The challenging route

The challenging route is what the leaders in every field decide to take.  They look for ways to offer a uniquely valuable service, rather than looking for excuses for why they MUST toe the line and do what their competitors are doing.

Whenever I have written on this subject before, people have left comments saying that it’s just not possible to offer anything new or original in their profession.  That is factually incorrect.  What they are really saying, is that it’s challenging, so they quit.  The people get on and do it, push through that challenge.  They invest the effort and energy to come up with something uniquely valuable and then they have the courage to implement it.  That’s why they get to work with the best clients and earn the highest fees.

In a world full of copycats, you can achieve huge commercial success if you seek out and implement your own, original masterpiece!

You can catch up on part 1 and part 2 of this series, using the links below:

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees Part 1

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees Part 2

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Is blogging something you fit in after the important work is done?

A reader emailed me recently, to say she is about to start a business blog.  She wanted to know how I find the time to keep this blog updated as frequently as I do, with useful content.

blogging, copywriting, content marketing

Image: Maria Reyes-McDavis

The answer is that I don’t have to “find time” to write here!

Let me explain: I see business blogs a little differently from most people.  I regard business blogs as massively valuable assets.  So, I give this site high priority within my business.

To me, business blogs are online magazines, which provide articles to interested people; with an opportunity for the readers to connect with the author and their fellow readers.

Just as you can’t play around and accidentally produce a worthwhile business magazine, you can’t play around with a business blog and expect it to develop a great community of highly valued readers.

Magazine thinking?

Think of any great business blog.  It provides valuable articles for people interested in their niche, just like any high quality business magazine.  For example, Brian Clark from copyblogger refers to his site as a media asset and his posts as magazine style content.  I have always been of the same mindset.  I see this site as a genuine media asset and I treat it with the respect it deserves.

  • It’s not a hobby.
  • It’s not a passtime.
  • It’s not a gesture.
  • It’s not something I do when there’s no real work that needs doing.
  • It IS an extremely valuable business asset.  Look at this!

This site never needs me to have spare time to invest in it.  If it did, it would be another infrequently updated business blog.  I regard Jim’s Marketing Blog and the reader community here as an integral part of my business, so it gets worked on ahead of many other less important (to me) business activities.

  • People who just write posts when they have spare time, after the important work is done, end up with a site which reflects that level of investment.
  • People who regard their site as the important work, treat their site very differently and see very different results.

The bottom line:  It’s a question of priorities.  Professionally, I place an extremely high priority on developing this site, so it always gets the time and attention it deserves.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

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